“If you ate today, thank a farmer”
- Anonymous

Meet a few farmers who dared to dream,
overcame all odds and made a difference.
We respect them and see them as our
partners in progress.
They are a sign of times to come, of the
change Indian Agriculture needs
so desperately.
Kamala Pujhari
Koraput district, Odisha
From vision to reality:
Kamala Pujhara, a tribal woman accomplished, which very few women farmers accomplish: a Padma Shri. Despite being deprived of basic education; she did not perceive it as a handicap. Her relentless effort in promoting organic farming has been lauded by her peers and the government alike. Her inclination towards traditional farming led her to learn the basic techniques at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation at Jeypore and since then, she has applied her new learnings and teachings in her day-to-day life while also guiding the farmers at her village. She has been mobilizing people to give up chemical fertilizers not only in her village, but also the neighbouring villages.
She has conserved hundreds of local varieties of paddy and collected endangered and rare types of seeds of paddy, til, black cumin, turmeric, etc.
Accolades :
    • 2019 : Padma Shri
    • 2018 : Appointed as a member of the Odisha State Planning Board
    • 2004 : Odihsa Government conferred her with the Best Women Farmer Award
    • 2002 : ‘Equator Initiative’ award in South Africa
Rajkumari Devi
Muzzaffarpur district, Bihar
From vision to reality:
Popularly known as ‘Kisan Chachi’, she is true to her title. She is no psychic, but can foresee successful harvest or lack thereof. How does she do it? Simple: by accessing the soil quality. She believes that experience is the best teacher and no formal education training can teach you of ways to ensure a fruitful harvest. As a young housewife, she started assisting her husband in the field where they grew tobacco leaves in the one acre of land they inherited. Soon enough, she learnt that there was more to agriculture than just growing tobacco. She segregated the plot into tiny pockets and started growing vegetables and local fruits. And over a period of time, she perfected the art of assessing soil and cropping pattern. Her success has been a huge inspiration to the women in the area who have now turned to integrated farming and are largely successful. The farmers in the village learnt to grow renewable crops between major seasonal crops for higher yields.
Rajkumari Devi also helped mobilise over 300 women to successfully set up Self-Help Groups (SHG) that work on integrated farming and agri businesses. She has started a non-profit organization called Anandpur Jyoti Centre, which collects fresh produce from these SHG members and employs them to process these produces to make jams, jellies and pickles. The women of the Muzzafarpur look up to her as a role model who has brought a huge change in their lives.
Accolades :
    • 2019 : Padma Shri
    • 2013 : Gujarat State Govt invited her to participate in the handicraft and cottage industries fair in Ahmedabad
    • 2006 : Kisan Shri Award by Bihar State Government
Babulal Dahiyaa
Pori Gaon near Satna, Madhya Pradesh
From vision to reality:
Babulal Dahiya is an artistically-inclined farmer who worked for the Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad and used to work on collections of folk literature and songs. While at work, he came across vivid descriptions of vegetables in the chapters, which intrigued his interest in crops and agriculture. He started researching and cataloguing several indigenous crops and vegetables since 2005 when he realised that the traditional rice varieties were getting extinct. He has been collecting indigenous rice varieties and trying to conserve them ever since. According to him, the indigenous crops grown in our country are seasoned to our climate and ripen, irrespective of minor climatic changes. These varieties have the capacity to counter climate change and global warming. He cultivates the crops in small plots and once ready, he harvests and shares them with other farmers.
He has developed his own seed collection of rare species, which he distributes to farmers who are interested in cultivating them in their field. He has been growing 110 varieties of crops within two acres of land. Recognising his work, the state biodiversity board has initiated a beej yatra (seed rally) to collect indigenous varieties of vegetables and medicinal plants.
Accolades :
    • 2019 : Padma Shri
    • 2011 : Biodiversity Award from Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board, Bhopal.
Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli
Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh
From vision to reality:
Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli, though a graduate in Commerce, has a huge love for agriculture which brought him back to his roots. Passionate about the subject of agriculture, he began penning articles on its development and various facets. He took the onus of acquainting and educating farmers on the concept of organic farming that many were oblivious to. To create awareness and impart education about the various new farming methods emerging in the sector, he launched three magazines: Rythuneshtam (2005), Pasunestham (2012), and Prakruthi Nestham (2014).
He founded the Rythu Nestham Foundation (2016) to teach natural and organic farming methods, which is set up in a tiny village of Kornepadu village in Guntur district. It has become the nodal training centre for the Agriculture Department to impart training on best agricultural practices. The foundation conducts awareness and orientation classes for the farmers on subjects that highlight the need to avoid harmful pesticides and fertilizers and the importance of organic farming. Though it took some time and effort, the farmers have now shifted to organic farming, which not only fetches them a better price in the market, but also provides healthy food to the community at large. He also initiated the Rythunestham Puraskaram awards to motivate and encourage farmers. The foundation has developed an app called Rythunestham, which encourages farmers to practice organic farming. It provides technical know-how, marketing tips, crop insurance details, daily market rates, weather forecast, details of nearest labs and research centres, chatting and support facility for farmers.
Accolades :
    • 2019 : Padma Shri
Ram Sharan Verma
Daulatpur village in Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh
From vision to reality:
Ram Saran Verma, an 8th grade dropout has come a long way. He introduced modern-day, effective banana cultivation technique to his fields, which traditionally grew wheat, rice, sugarcane and mustard. He was one of the first farmers to introduce tissue culture farming in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He devised his own hybrid and tissue culture technique. He is referred to as the rural "high-tech farmer" by the Indian media, for introducing advanced farming techniques to improve yields in banana, tomato and potato crops to small-time rural Indian farmers. High-tech farming is all about adopting advanced techniques such as hybrid variants, tissue culture, biofertiliser irrigation management, crop management, management of tillering, and weed control. He offers consultation on hi-tech agriculture at Daulatapur. He has imparted knowledge to a lot of farmers for free. To allow his peers to connect with him, this tech-savvy farmer also launched a website: http://www.vermaagri.com/, which has information about the various methods and tips. The site has 1.5 lakh visitors each day. His knowledge and contribution in the field fetched him special appreciation from Dr. Abdul J Kalam who referred to him as the ‘Farmer’s Wizard’
Accolades :
    • 2019 : Padma Shri
    • 2014 : National Horticultural Award
    • 2007 and 2010 : Jagjivan Ram Kisan Puraskar